Wednesday, September 8, 2010
So This Is What Allen Toussaint Was Talking About
On several different occasions when seeing Allen Toussaint perform live, he would devote 3 minutes of storytelling to Frankie Miller, the Scottish R&B singer who he calls "the best soul singer I have ever heard."
My first taste of Frankie Miller was his guest vocal on Thin Lizzy's 1974 "Night Life" album, and my thought was, "Why is this guy singing this song I love so much?" I preferred the deep soul and phrasing of leader Phil Lynott.
Next up was an album from 1982, "Dancing In The Rain." My only interest there was Thin Lizzy guitarist Brain Robertson. It's a weak record that is distinctly 80s, with its reverberating drum sound and tinny production, and Robbo's guitar is hardly an issue. Not the best introduction to Mr. Miller. Trust me.
At that time, I had little interest in New Orleans, and just barely knew Allen Toussaint, or that he had produced Frankie's "High Life" LP. That hookup occurred because Miller sent Toussaint his previous album, "Once In A Blue Moon," which featured Brinsley Schwarz as his backing band. All these great names, I must be missing something.
Years later, after I disposed with most of that teenage attitude that made me a complete moron and led me to call Charlie Parker a hack, (not to his face, obviously, but to a friend who didn't like Mott The Hoople and only listened to jazz), I caught up with all my Frankie Miller.
I have a new found respect for Miller, though it's not "High Life," the Toussaint record I am impressed with. It's 1973's "The Rock." This album has been in heavy rotation since it arrived in the mail from a Canadian eBay seller just a few days ago.
Listen up, and hear what Allen Toussaint heard.
A FOOL IN LOVE
ALL MY LOVE TO YOU